Innovation to Support Those at Risk of Falling
NHS West Midlands Regional Innovation Fund
HDTI, Coventry University, West Midlands Joint Improvement Partnership, NHS Warwickshire, NHS West Midlands
The Health Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) in partnership with the West Midlands Region Telehealthcare Network and Warwickshire PCT, was funded by NHS West Midlands to carry out an evaluation of the use of fall detectors within the West Midlands Region.
The service evaluation used "rapid appraisal techniques" for the swift assessment of local views and perceptions of the problems and needs relating to the use of fall detectors across the region. To identify areas of good practice, service innovation and whole system thinking within falls prevention and response service delivery across the region, an in-depth case study approach was used where the researchers involved practitioners to capture this data, evaluate practice and highlight best practice service delivery.
This mixed method study found that there is a lack of knowledge amongst the public and healthcare professionals, which can prevent the use of fall detectors by people who may benefit from them. It was also found that there is a need for sharing of best practice across the region to develop the use of technology within falls services.
As a result of this project, a range of resources were produced, aimed at health and social care professionals and the general public to raise awareness of falls prevention, detection, response and best practice. You can explore the resources developed in the tabs below.
A literature review summarising current knowledge and research in the area of fall detectors was published in the Journal of Assistive Technologies:
Ward, G., Holliday, N., Fielden, S., & Williams, S. (2012) Fall detectors: a review of the literature. Journal of Assistive Technologies, 6 (3), pp. 202-215. (https://www.emerald.com/journals.htm)
Resources for the Public
A falls prevention smartphone app allows people to identify potential fall risks in their home, or the home of someone they care for. Free to download from here.
Video - Me and My Fall Detector
A video exploring four fall detector users’ views about their device, showing the pros and cons of using technology for detecting and managing falls.
Public information booklet – Worried About Falling?
Provides information about falls and fall prevention and signposts people to a variety of resources where they can find further information or support. This was distributed to all GP practices in the West Midlands.
Resources for Professionals
Focus groups with Telehealthcare leads
Focus groups with older people and carers
Best Practice Guide on Fall Detectors
Care Pathway Review
It has been made apparent from the project research that better guidelines are needed to support staff in the decision making process when considering the use of fall detectors for people at risk of falling. There was poor integration of Assistive Technology (AT) into falls care pathways with no indication of where and when it could be used. Following this, a fictional AT and falls care pathway was created to give examples of where and how AT and fall detectors could be integrated into care pathways.